Read Hardcore: Volume 1 Online

Authors: Staci Hart

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Romantic, #Romance, #Romantic Suspense, #Romantic Erotica, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense

Hardcore: Volume 1 (9 page)

BOOK: Hardcore: Volume 1
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I didn’t hesitate when I reached the ledge, just jumped at the same angle he did, spotting the roof on the way down. I rolled when I hit the ground and found my feet. He was up ahead of me, running backwards with a smile, and he sprang into a backflip with a whoop when I realized I’d jumped without thinking, trusted his skill enough that I could take a leap of faith. It wasn’t even conscious.

What the fuck is happening to me?
 

I pushed it all down and concentrated on my body, feeling my muscles expand and contract as I vaulted over a duct, then slid under another. As I skidded, I flipped and switched back to vault the ducts again, tricking, holding poses over each one before landing with a soft thump and veered to follow Van. He hung off the side of an adjacent building by one hand with his bicep and lat stretched out like a wing, his body propped by his feet as he watched me with an air of appreciation. I found holds easily as I climbed to meet him, and he took off again, hauling himself over the edge of the roof.
 

I chased him across a series of bare rooftops with my mind racing. As separate as I’d been for my entire life, Van was connected. He knew what he wanted, what made him happy, and he filled his life with it. I didn’t know if I’d ever really been that free. I thought I understood what life was, but Van … Van was living in a way I didn’t know existed in the context of real life. He was a hot match in a cold, dark room. Being near him was like being able to see for the first time.

Erin was wrong. I couldn’t get him out of my system in a night. I didn’t want to go back into the dark alone. Not yet.

I hauled myself over the stone ledge panting, feeling my pulse in my neck, fingers, legs as I sucked in air with burning lungs. I hadn’t run so hard since the night on the roof, and even that was different, no tricking, just straight up running. Both nights brought me to the same conclusion.

Van was incredible.

He stood on a wide ledge ahead of me with his hands on his hips, his shoulders heaving as he caught his breath. His body was a silhouette against the lights of the buildings that stretched up around us. He was a god or a superhero, something out of a myth or legend, too good to be true. Too good to be mine.

Van turned and extended his hand, and I smiled when I took it. He pulled me up to stand next to him. The wind whipped my hair around as I looked down what I guessed to be twenty stories to the street below, shifting a bit to steady myself at the disorienting vertigo that always hit.

We stood there silently, just existing as part of the city for a long while.
 

A war of emotions tore through me. During our run, I’d chased down my thoughts. The most important thing I’d decided was that I wouldn’t steal from him. I’d never really wanted to in the first place and admitted to myself that I’d been looking for a reason to bail. But there was so much at stake. I didn’t know how I’d get out of it.

I could tell Jill, but that wasn’t
really
an option.

I could bullshit Jade and hope to Christ she let it go.

I could tell Van the truth. But then he’d know. I wasn’t ready for him to judge me. I never expected to care whether he did or not.

But I did.

The warmth of his hand around mine was comforting, the size of it wrapped around my own like he wanted to protect it. Protect me. Was that what I wanted? I wondered if I could find a way to let go and let him him in, and I realized with a shock that it would be a relief. It was a burden I didn’t know I’d been carrying.

If he learned the truth about me, that I was a thief, a liar, that I had plans to steal from him … how could he ever forgive that? Why would he want me? Something told me he wouldn’t be forgiving. His life was as black and white as the photographs he took. The shades of gray were just noise. He had hard lines of expectations on the world, even though he was pliant on his expectations of me. But that was because he didn’t know me. If he did, he wouldn’t want to have anything to do with me.

And so I decided that I would give us both the night. One night to be together, unbound by my baggage and past. Just a night to
be.
Because I wouldn’t lie to him, and I wouldn’t steal from him. I had to tell him the truth or disappear. There was no answer, and there wouldn’t be until I faced Jade. Nothing could be decided until I’d dealt with her.
 

I looked over at him, his face illuminated by the city. He glanced down and turned to me, gripping me tight. The wind spun around us, lifting my hair as he leaned down and kissed me, his body as solid as the buildings that reached up into the night, and I held on to him like I’d fall if he let go.
 

WE WERE WIPED WHEN we trotted to the roof access door of The Kyle Building. He punched in a code at the door and pulled it open for me, laying a hand in the small of my back as I passed. I hopped on the rail and slid down to the landing, and we laughed with our arms out as we descended each flight until we reached his floor.
 

I twisted my hair up again as we walked the hall and into his apartment, closing the door behind us. Van made his way through the living room, throwing his beanie, reaching back between his shoulder blades to grab a handful of his tank to pull it over his head. I stood there like an idiot, watching the shadows of the muscles on his back expand and contract when he moved. He turned back, reaching back for my hand with a crooked smile.
 

“I’m gonna shower, you coming?” He looked at me like he already knew the answer.

“Whether or not I come sort of depends on you,” I said and I slipped my hand into his.

Van laughed and started walking. “Then the answer is definitely yes.”

He kicked off his shoes when we reached his room, and I let go of his hand to pull off my boots. When I unbuttoned my jeans and pushed them down my thighs, Van sucked in a breath from behind me. I glanced over my shoulder, smiling.
 

“Don’t stop on account of me,” he said with his arms across his chest.

I bent over farther than I needed to in my pantyless state, then tugged the ends over my heels and turned to face him. I reached across my body and grabbed the hem of my shirt at my hips to yank it over my head, then did the same with my bra, dropping it with the rest of my clothes in a pile on the floor. His eyes wandered up and down my body as I walked to him and slipped my hands around his waist, then to his ass to hook the band of his sweats with my thumbs and push them over the swell and to the floor.

Then it was my turn to look him over. His body was sculpted, a mass of flesh and muscle, all angles and shadows. Every curve, every line imparted dominance and ability, strength and control. He reached for me, pulled me into him, and I tasted his salty lips. His cock pressed against my stomach, and I tightened my arms to get him closer to me, as close as I could.

He pulled away and smiled down at me, brushing a stray hair from my face. “Come on,” he said and turned for the shower, and I followed with my eyes on his ass. It was literally perfect, like something you’d see in a magazine or a sculpture in a museum, defying all logic just by its existence.

I shook my head, rolling my eyes at myself while he turned on the shower.
 

The steam began to curl within seconds, and I looked warily at the setup. There were five shower heads in the ceiling, one large one in the center and four more around it, all angled at the drain, and a bench along two of the walls. It was near the size of some apartments I’d been in.

Van smiled sideways at me. “I know it looks crazy, but just wait.”
 

He stepped through the door and into the water, and I froze again, watching him lift his face up to the stream and run his hands through his hair. The water rolled down his body in long streams, and my eyes roamed, drinking him in like they were parched.
 

He ran a hand over his face and looked at me, confused for a second before he smiled and raised an eyebrow.

I laughed awkwardly, realizing I had no idea what I was doing besides ogling him like a side of beef. I stepped in and closed the door.

“This is the spot, right here.” He pointed under the ceiling head.

I took his place when he moved for the shampoo, and then I nearly died.

The shower heads hit me from every direction, beating my sore muscles, rinsing the city’s grime off of my body.
 

“Oh my God,” I groaned with my eyes closed.

“Yeah. That,” Van said with a laugh, and I felt his soapy hands in my hair.

“Mmm.” I stepped back and pressed into him, his dick slick against the top of my ass as the soap ran between us. I shifted my hips, massaging his length with our bodies, and his hands left my hair for my shoulders, then around to my breasts where he squeezed, teasing my nipples. He lowered his body to cradle his cock between my cheeks, and I shifted my hips, rocking him.
 

I turned and ran my hands across his broad chest. “You’re not clean just yet,
Van.
” I dragged his name out, and he smiled as I reached for a bar of soap, rubbing it between my palms until suds ran down to my elbows.

He watched as I touched his chest again, his nipples, his abs. His eyes followed my fingers when I traced the ‘v’ of his hips down to his cock, long and thick, and I held him in my palms, wrapped my fingers around him and slipped down to his base, then up to his crown. He guided me back until I was pressed against the wall, his palm next to my head while my fingers ran up and down his length, slow and slick.

“Cory,” he breathed.
 

Heat shot through my body at the sound of my name, and the water rained down on us, washing the soap away as I knelt down, my eyes never leaving his, my hands never letting him go, wanting to touch all of him. I kissed the soft skin low on his stomach, and his cock brushed against my cheek. He let out a soft sound that fell somewhere between a hum and a moan when I trailed my tongue up his length. I took his head into my mouth, flicking my tongue lazily against the tip as my hands found their way to his ass, and when I dropped down onto his cock, he let out a hiss.

His hand slipped into the hair at the nape of my neck, urging me on, and I pulled back, sucking softly before taking him again, my hands on his ass matching the pull of his own, over and over. He throbbed against my tongue just before pulling out with a pop, about to come, and I raised up just tall enough to press my chest to his hips. I closed him tight inside of my breasts, and he flexed his hips, pumping into me until he came, laying all his weight on his hands pressed against the wall behind me. His eyes closed as the water ran down his face, dripping off his nose and chin as he struggled to breathe.

I stood and found myself in his arms with my face pressed up against his chest, his heart thundering in my ear. He dipped his head to kiss me, our lips and tongues rolling slow and heavy around each other. He broke away to smile and rub my cheek with his thumb just once before he reached for the bar of soap.
 

“Your turn.” He rubbed the soap between his big hands and started with my neck and shoulders, pressing his thumbs into my muscles.

I sighed and closed my eyes as his hands moved across my chest, my breasts, his fingers grazing the tips of my nipples. He trailed fire down to my hips, skimming his knuckles across the lowest part of my stomach as the steaming water ran over us. My breath hitched when he pressed a finger to my clit.
 

“Sit down,” he whispered in my ear.

I sat on the bench with a racing pulse, and he kneeled before me and grabbed my legs, slinging them over his shoulder, pulling my hips so my ass was hanging over the edge. My breaths were shallow as I anticipated him, hooking my ankles behind him, feeling the muscles in his shoulders under the backs of my knees.

His eyes were between my legs, and he placed two fingers at the base of my pussy to slide them up slow, pressing against me with his fingers in a ‘v.’

“I’ve wanted to know what you taste like since we met.”

I licked my lips, catching the bottom one between my teeth while he dipped his head painfully slow, and I sighed when his lips touched my clit. He sucked, and my breath shuddered, my thighs trembling as my heels dug into his back.

“F-f-fuck…” I whispered and pressed my head against the shower wall, twisting my fingers in his hair.
 

He held all of my weight as he traced tiny figure-eights around my clit. I couldn’t breathe, like the air was too thin, my lungs too weak. But when he slipped a finger inside of me, my back snapped into an arch. The rhythm of his tongue matched his finger inside of me, spurring me on until I turned my head, pressing my cheek against the cool tile. A cry ripped out of me, sharp and loud, my body flexing as every thought left me at the command of his touch.

He kissed and sucked, licking slow while I shuddered on the bench.

“Van,” I said after a moment, dazed.

He raised up and leaned over me, threading an arm under my knees and another around my waist. I buried my face in the bend of his neck as he picked me up, not caring about anything outside of that exhausted, satisfied moment. I noticed distantly that he turned off the shower and grabbed a towel, only because his hand left my waist. He carried me into his room and laid me down in bed, dripping wet.

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